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‘Connectathon’ opens door to interoperability in digital pathology

December 2017—With the FDA having approved whole slide imaging for primary diagnosis this year, one obstacle to full acceptance of digital pathology remains: lack of interoperability. To topple that barrier, the Digital Pathology Association, the CAP through its Digital Pathology Committee, and DICOM Working Group 26 convened in October, during the Pathology Visions conference, the first Connect­athon for digital pathology.

HbA1c shows its mettle in predicting diabetes risk

December 2017—The longitudinal Framingham Heart Study, which first identified the concept of risk factors and made serum LDL cholesterol a household name, could help increase the celebrity status of HbA1c, with the Oct. 26 publication of a new study in Diabetes Care. International and national organizations since 2010 have recognized HbA1c as a valid way to diagnose abnormalities in glycemia and diabetes mellitus. But there has been less consensus on its use as a screen for elevated diabetes risk.

Higher pay for therapeutic apheresis, bone marrow aspiration

December 2017—For 2018, CMS estimates a one percent overall decrease in pathology reimbursement. Pathologists will receive payment increases for therapeutic apheresis and diagnostic bone marrow aspiration services in 2018. At the same time, reimbursement for flow cytometry services will continue to decrease following phased-in reductions set by the Medicare program last year, but the CAP was successful in lessening the impact of cuts to those services in 2018.

Automation, standardization lead the way in urinalysis

December 2017—Smaller-scale technology and standardization are just some of what laboratories need, and it’s where the companies that make urinalysis analyzers are in part focusing their work. CAP Today spoke with three of the five whose analyzers are profiled on the following pages.

Targeted NGS or exome? Consider the clinical context

December 2017—American writer Maile Meloy published a short story collection in 2009 titled Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It. Molecular pathology laboratory directors faced with the variety of next-generation sequencing diagnostic panels might feel similarly. As the main character in Meloy’s title story asks, “What kind of fool wanted it only one way?”

Are point-of-care PT/INR devices safe and effective?

December 2017—Safety issues related to point-of-care PT/INR testing surfaced in recent years, among them a 2016 voluntary class 1 recall of Alere’s INRatio and INRatio2 monitor systems. “Prior to that, the company that manufactured the device had received thousands of complaints about it,” says Russell Higgins, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Class act in Ohio expands pool of phlebotomists

December 2017—After two rounds of a new program to train high schoolers in phlebotomy, OhioHealth is seeing the fruits of its efforts. It has hired 19 of its trainees and a third course, set to begin next month, has 20 high school seniors enrolled. Just when OhioHealth’s phlebotomy staffing needs were expanding, laboratory services leaders were growing increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of the training students were receiving at most of the phlebotomy programs in the Columbus area.

AMP case report: November 2017 test yourself answers

December 2017—In the November 2017 issue was a report (page 26), “Follicular lymphoma of gallbladder: Use of immunoglobulin gene clonality studies to facilitate diagnosis of unusual case,” written by members of the Association for Molecular Pathology. Here are answers (in bold) to the three “test yourself ” questions that followed that case report.

Next-gen troponin: out of the gate, into labs

November 2017—The story of highly sensitive cardiac troponin, as written by Dr. Seuss, would provide a small twist. In this version, the Grinch doesn’t steal Christmas. Rather, he keeps delaying it, quarter after quarter, year after year. “I remember maybe seven years ago, Roche told me their assay was coming. It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming,” laughs Sihe Wang, PhD, medical director and section head, clinical biochemistry, Cleveland Clinic, and clinical chemistry professor, Cleveland State University.

Benefits and bumps of shifting to Beaker

November 2017—If they were located in the Land of Oz, laboratories selecting a laboratory information system might not have to make a choice between full functionality and seamless integration with their electronic medical record system. They could just follow the helpful advice of the Scarecrow to Dorothy at a crossroads: “Go both ways.”